We made it home safe and sound! Diedra’s is a little under the weather, but other than that we can say another successful trip is under our belts! A big thanks to our Beijing staff who accompanied us and translated for us the entire trip. A very special thank you to Celese, doctor and adoptive mother of three, who lended her medical expertise, friendship, and support through the rural roads and congested highways of China.
The China Interview Team
It was quite the whirlwind of an adventure and lots of new experiences filled our almost 2 weeks in China. I am grateful to be back on American soil with more identifiable foods, air conditioning, and a familiar language. However, I could see my self spending more time in China, and I am already looking forward to the next trip. Especially after meeting so many amazing children!
We met 140 kids, visited 6 orphanages, and conducted a two day training for orphanage partnerships. I would say that is quite a success! Since my return I have gotten an array of questions, but the common theme seems to be, “How do you pick the kids for the program, and isn’t hard meeting all of those kids?”
The second half of the question is the hardest to address. These are children who, through no fault of their own, have been dealt the crummiest of hands in life and how am I to ever know and understand the heartbreak that is their daily life? This is true of all the children even the ones who may live in a “simulated family” (sort of like a foster family here in the States). Ultimately, there is no family to call their own, and at age fourteen, each of these children without a family will age out of the system. The first part of the question is almost no easier. We have to think of a few deciding factors: Can this child physically handle the trip on their own? Could flying or extensive activity cause their medical condition to flare up and cause them more harm? Can this child understand the process, program, and be able to take it all in? The children aren’t told anything about adoption other than this is a “camp” that they are attending in the US. We must know that a child can somewhat grasp that they will be leaving everything they know for four weeks, spend four weeks in a country where they don’t know the language, eating food they may not like, spending time with people they may or may not like. That’s a lot for any kid to take in! We know they won’t completely understand that, but we have to see that they are open to it. Lastly, we ask ourselves the most important question, “Is it in the best interest of the child?” For example, a child that is recently abandoned probably shouldn’t travel for the sake of overcoming their abandonment. However if they are close to aging out, hosting could be the best way to find them a family. A lot of thought goes into who should come and who shouldn’t, and it’s never easy to officially say ‘no’ to a child.
Ultimately I have to remind myself why I am here. Why am I doing this? That is the easiest question to answer. I’m here for the children, to provide the best opportunity I can to as many children as I can. That’s where it can become overwhelming. Realistically, what CAN I do? If I let the emotion of saying no to certain children, the emotion of meeting so many parent-less children, the emotion of seeing the sadness in a child’s eyes, the emotion of having a child embrace you and not want to let go because they just want to be loved – if I let all of that emotion get in the way, I can’t do my job effectively. I can’t make a bigger difference for the children who will participate in hosting, who will potentially find their forever family. Those children will lose out on so much more if I lose focus, those children will lose out if I don’t put forth our resources effectively, and then nobody wins, and the waiting children will continue to wait.
So now our hosting team has the daunting task of submitting our final list to the CCCWA and waiting for approval. Once we know which children we will have, we begin matching these children with the family that is the best fit for both the child and the family.
There are always kids to be hosted; as the Summer group of kids arrive we will begin matching for our winter program. It’s a constant circle that we are happy to be part of because there are always more children in need. It’s a game changer for these older children, and we are so happy to be part of it. We are even more grateful for the host families that open their homes and the supportive families that open their hearts and lend a hand in making this entire program possible.
Thank you for following our ongoing journey to bring these amazing children to find their families! Stay tuned for more hosting updates as we welcome the children this summer and get prepared to match the next group for Christmas!